$10m kickstart for sight-saving eye clinical trials centre
A new world-leading eye clinical trials centre will give Victorians facing vision loss and blindness greater access to innovative, sight-saving treatments.
Plans for the new centre, to be developed by the Centre for Eye Research Australia, have received a $10 million kickstart from Breakthrough Victoria.
CERA Managing Director Professor Keith Martin welcomed the investment in the future of eye health and eye research announced today by Breakthrough Victoria CEO Grant Dooley, along with Minister for Industry and Innovation Ben Carroll and Minister for Health Mary-Anne Thomas.
“The new clinical trials centre will position Victoria as a go-to location for international clinical trials of innovative new treatments to prevent blindness, restore sight and transform the lives of people living with currently incurable eye conditions,’’ Professor Martin said.
“The new centre will be a hub for global clinical trials that will create new high-skill jobs and attract international research talent and industry partnerships. It will strengthen Victoria’s reputation as an international leader in medical research and fighting blindness.’’
Breakthrough Victoria CEO Grant Dooley said the centre would add to Victoria’s world-class medical research and public health services.
“By establishing the new eye clinical trials centre, we can commercialise that expertise to global markets by providing clinical trials that benefit Victorians through better access to new treatments,’’ he said.
Minister Carroll said: “We’re backing projects like CERA because we know these investments help change lives, create jobs and boost our economy for years into the future.’’
Minister Thomas said: “Our investment in a new clinical trial centre is a stunning example of how research can improve people’s lives, while also cementing Victoria’s international reputation as a destination for investment, research and global talent.’’
The new eye clinical trials centre will be embedded in CERA, which is co-located with the University of Melbourne Department of Surgery (Ophthalmology) at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. It is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2024.
“Together CERA, the University of Melbourne and The Eye and Ear Hospital form one of the world’s leading partnerships in eye care and eye health,’’ said Professor Martin.
“The new eye clinical trials centre will deepen the collective impact of our research and the difference we make in the community.”
Professor Martin said major advances in eye research – particularly the fast emerging field of gene therapy – had led to a growing demand for clinical trials facilities and expertise, with many industry partners wanting to provide trials in Australia.
“The new centre will enable us to offer more cutting edge treatments to patients with diseases that until very recently have been considered incurable, like inherited retinal diseases – which are the leading cause of blindness in working age Australians.
“The new centre also enables us to expand trials available to patients with age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic eye diseases.’’
Professor Martin said the new eye clinical trials centre would also support Victorian scientists’ work in the lab to develop innovative new treatments to prevent vision loss and restore sight.
“In the past, many inventors and scientists have had to take their work offshore. We want to ensure that new eye treatments and devices developed here in Australia are trialled here, where they can benefit local patients.’’
Read Breakthrough Victoria’s media release: New Eye Clinical Trials Centre to Give Victorians World-First Treatments
Read the Minister for Industry and Innovation’s media release: Light On The Horizon For New Eye Clinical Trials